Dialogue. Dialogue. Dialogue. Insert Kevin Hart’s short joke here. Dialogue. Dialogue. Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Jerry Ferrara, Regina Hall, Gabrielle Union and Academy Award nominee Taraji P. Henson star in the sequel Think Like a Man Too.
Cast of Characters:
Dominic – Michael Ealy
Jeremy – Jerry Ferrara
Maya – Meagan Good
Candace – Regina Hall
Lauren – Taraji P. Henson
Michael – Terrence J
Zeke – Romany Malco
Tish – Wendi McLendon-Covey
Bennett – Gary Owen
Kristen – Gabrielle Union
Sonia – La La Anthony
Cedric – Kevin Hart
Director – Tim Story
Screenplay – David A. Newman & Keith Merryman
Based on the book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man by Steve Harvey
Producer – Will Packer
Rated PG-13 for crude sexual content including references, partial nudity, language and drug material
Everyone from Think Like a Man is back, and this time they’re heading to Vegas for the wedding of Candace (Regina Hall) and Michael (Terrence J), with Cedric (Kevin Hart) running the show as Michael’s best man.
Over the course of the wedding, though, everyone has their own problems to deal with. Jeremy (Jerry Ferrara) and Kristen (Gabrielle Union) are trying to have a baby, but it’s not going well for them. Zeke (Romany Malco) wants to commit to Maya (Meagan Good), but he’s having a hard time escaping his “Zeke the Freak” past. Tish (Wendi McLendon-Covey) and her husband Bennett (Gary Owen) are a plain as white bread couple that wouldn’t know a good time if it jumped up and bit them. Dominic (Michael Ealy) and Lauren (Taraji P. Henson) face difficult career decisions that could land them each in opposite ends of the country, and Candace is having to put up with Michael’s mother Loretta (Jenifer Lewis).
Okay, I’m calling it right now. By the end of the movie, Jeremy and Kristen are expecting a child, Zeke proposes to Maya, Tish and Bennett learn how to get their freak on, Dominic and Lauren pass on their job offers ’cause they care about each other that much, and Loretta and Candace mend fences.
Oh, wow! I was right.
The goal of any sequel is to present new issues for the characters to tackle. A great example recently would be last week’s How to Train Your Dragon 2. Think Like a Man Too (See what they did there at the end?) has the same cast from the first film arriving in Vegas and repeating the same problems they had in the first film, just so they can relearn the lessons they learned in the first film.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana
Thought you’d never see the day where a Santayana quote popped up in a Kevin Hart film review, huh? Well, now it did, ’cause I felt like putting one there.
What this film should’ve been titled was Think Like a Studio Wanting to Cash in Again on a Film That Surprisingly Grossed Them Nearly $100 Million. What other reason is there for this film? It just reeks of laziness all over. Writers David A. Newman and Keith Merryman run the viewer through a gauntlet of typical Vegas movie cliches, then give us the climactic confrontation between Loretta and Candace that’s been brewing since the beginning, and once they kiss and make up, Newman and Merryman wrap up every other problem concerning every other character in a nice, neat little bow.
Even more of a misstep for Newman and Merryman are seemingly important plot points at the beginning that are abandoned later on. Kevin Hart’s Cedric makes a big deal about his Lamborghini rental to the valet, and it’s never brought up again. Cedric also plans a big bachelor party for Michael with a stripper pole and everything. It’s seems to be a big enough deal that he hands flyers all around Vegas and even manages to invite Floyd Mayweather, Jr. It never happens.
This film could’ve totally redeemed itself with one shot of Mayweather and a number of random strangers standing outside Cedric’s $44,000-a-night suite wondering what happened.
It’s really a shame that such a talented and attractive ensemble cast is wasted here. Michael Ealy, Jerry Ferrara, Romany Malco, Gabrielle Union, Meagan Good, Regina Hall, Taraji P. Henson – they’ve all proven their talent before, and don’t get many film opportunities to show it, so it’s disappointing that this is the opportunity they get when it could be put to much better use.
Getting your actresses to dance like a stripper to Bell Biv Devoe’s “Poison” while they mug before a fish-eye lens ain’t the best way to utilize their talent, and it certainly got a few eye rolls from me, but by then I was like, hell with it. Least they’re not boring me with their problems that should’ve been resolved from the previous film.
The big star here is obviously Kevin Hart, who’s been popping up in practically every other film over the past couple years. Hart’s schtick can be funny, given the right direction, but when he flips it into hyperdrive, a little bit goes a long way. He’s kinda like the misguided runner that thinks he has to jump the gun and go full throttle to get ahead right away, instead of pacing himself. Sure, the laughs are there at first, but eventually the humor putters out and here comes “the wall”. Even his narration, which consists of him screaming basketball metaphors, throughout the film wears on you. Were they recording him at a Mastodon concert, and the only way he could be heard is if he shouted over the band?
Prior to showing the world how incapable he was of directing a comic book franchise (the Fantastic Four films), director Tim Story has earned success working with an ensemble cast in 2002’s Barbershop. It’s been downhill ever since, and this film doesn’t alleviate the pain. There’s really no narrative structure. Story just places his cast in Vegas, drops a contrived problem for them here, here and there, and then, “Bunny ears, bunny ears, playing by a tree. Criss-crossed the tree, trying to catch me. Bunny ears, Bunny ears, jumped into the hole, popped out the other side beautiful and bold.” It’s all wrapped up.
Although, since Jeremy and Kristen are expecting, I guess we should be expecting a Think Like a Man 3.
Think Like a Man Too managed to pry some laughs out of me. That says more about the talent within the cast, though, more than the filmmakers. Despite those few laughs, the cast gets nothing else to do other than play off a lazy script that’s derivative of every other film set in Vegas. The derivatives and contrivances aren’t the problem, the jokes not working are. Like Sin City’s iconic tagline, hopefully this film stays in Vegas and away from your line of sight.
I give Think Like a Man Too a D+ (★½).
REVIEWS COMING LATER NEXT WEEK…
6/23/14 What the Hell Were They Thinking?!
6/24/14 Benjamin’s Stash
6/25/14 2014 Mid-Year Recap
6/27/14 They Came Together
6/28/14 Transformers: Age of Extinction